Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children

James Browning

stories from the book
by James V. Browning

My Journey in Life

Bonnie (Mathis) Taylor

My father died in October of 1951. My mother, Eula Mathis, was left with 10 children to care for. The youngest of my siblings was about 9 months old and the oldest child was 23. Life at home was very difficult for a poverty-stricken family in eastern Oklahoma.

More difficulties came when my mother died in December, 1954. This time, six children were left at home. My mother, foreseeing her death, had made arrangements for her children to be placed in the Baptist Children’s Home in Oklahoma City. Upon arrival, being placed in different cottages, made it seem that we were miles apart.

Though Sundays were visitation days for us, no one ever came. To make the best of this, I visited my brothers who were all younger than I. These times were always so sad because they cried when I left them.

Six months after we went to the Home, three of my brothers were adopted. These were my twin brothers, Wilbert and Willie, and another brother, Frankie. An older sister, Margie (now deceased), was sent to Enid State School for the mentally retarded. My brother, Andrew, and I were the only two left at the Home. We were there until we were graduated from high school.

Looking back, I see myself as a very sad little girl who cried a lot. I really missed my family.

Eventually, life began to change for the better. The girls that I grew up with became my “sisters” and my “family.” They also became my lifelong friends.

The housemothers did their best to replace our mothers and to fill the emptiness in our hearts. With love and friendship they reached out and gave us a part of themselves. I am certain they were dedicated to their work and truly cared for us. I thank them for giving of themselves to the Lord in serving the needs of others. I am a life that was changed--and these ladies will always be a special part of my life. Thank you, Mrs. Bird, and Mrs. Pitchford, and Mrs. Huffman. No doubt as they stand before the Lord, He is saying, “Look around you, my dear child, great is your reward.”

Graduation day was a wonderful day in my life. Not only did I receive my High School diploma, I also married my husband that night, May 30, 1963. God had chosen a wonderful, surrendered Christian man for me. I love, praise, honor, and respect him even after 35 years of happy marriage.

Today, we have five beautiful children. A sixth child, a girl, was stillborn. I believe that she is at home with our heavenly Father. Of the five, four are sons and the other, their younger sister. Now these are all also happily married, and there are also six beautiful grandchildren. Best of all, our children are all born-again Christians and serving the Lord.

My husband, Jimmie W. Taylor, M..D., is a general practitioner in Stilwell, where he has compassionately served the community for 24 years.

We are faithful members of First Baptist Church. My husband is a deacon and teacher, and I am the Sunday School secretary.

When I was asked to write my story, I asked the Lord what to say and He brought to memory the words of a song written by Ray Boltz, “Thank You.” This song speaks of thanking people who made changes in their lives. The chorus expresses my feelings completely:

“Thank you, for giving to the Lord,

I am a life that was changed.

Thank you, for giving to the Lord,

I am so glad you gave.”

The Baptists of Oklahoma are to be commended for their many acts of love and kindness toward the orphaned and homeless children. The last verse of the above song is also dedicated to you.

"One by one they came, far as the eye could see;

Each life somehow touched by your generosity.

Little things that you had done, sacrifices you had made

They were unnoticed on this earth, In Heaven now proclaimed.

But I am almost sure there were tears in your eyes

As Jesus took your hand and you stood before the Lord,

He said, ‘My child, look around you, great is your reward’.”

Thank you, Oklahoma Baptists, I’m so glad you gave.

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